The Bill focuses on reorienting the governance model in central ports in line with the successful global practices

Parliament today passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (I/C) for Ports, Shipping &Waterways moved the bill in Rajya Sabha today and it was passed. Now the Bill will go  to the President of India for his assent.

With a view to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 bill aims at decentralizing decision making and to infuse professionalism in governance of major ports. It imparts faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability. The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports.

The salient features of the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 are as under: –

  1. The Bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
  2. The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests. A compact Board with professional independent Members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning. Provision has been made for inclusion of representatives of State Government in which the Major Port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government Nominee Member and a Member representing the employees of the Major Port Authority.
  3. The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined. Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff- based on market conditions. The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
  4. An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports.
  5. The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 instances.
  6. The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.
  7. Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.
  8. Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports
  9. Efficient and Sustainable Packaging key to Environmentally Sustainable Logistics
  10. Packaging serves as the interface between users and logistics companies and efficient and sustainable packaging is the key to environmentally sustainable logistics. Packaging deserves greater attention from improving the overall logistical efficiency perspective.In a consultation meeting organised by the Logistics Division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 9thFebruary, Shri Pawan Agarwal, Special Secretary (Logistics) made the above observations.
  11. This consultation was organised to define the scope and the National Packaging Initiative as part of the National Logistics Policy that is currently being finalized. This policy aims to reduce logistics cost, ensure product safety and promote sustainability.This consultation was held with Confederation of Indian Industry, various user industries such as food and beverages, e-commerce, 3PLs/4PLs. They all shared their observations on what prevails currently in the Indian packaging space and what needs to be done to achieve better results. These areas include regulations, standardization/ harmonization, research and development, skilling, sustainability, etc. There was a consensus that secondary and tertiary packaging needs focus.
  12. Valuable inputs on packaging came from the 3PL/4PL participants and more such key players would be involved in the formulation of the National Packaging Initiative. TCI, TVS and APL Logistics were some of the players who represented this segment in Tuesday’s virtual meet. Returnable packaging – another vital aspect from the EXIM angle,was highlighted as an important area of intervention. Issue of Palletization and its role in improving operational logistical efficiency through better cubic utilization of space during transportation, was also discussed.
  13. Shri Pawan Agarwal pointed out that Logistical efficiency can be driven by the user industry and user ministry and not by the logistic companies. In this connection, hementioned thatan inter-ministerial meeting would be organized to take it forward.
  14. E-Com companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc. were urged to invest in sustainable packaging as they are one of the biggest users of packaging material. It was pointed out that dangerous and chemical verticals would also need special attention from the packaging perspective
  15. The Special Secretary advised that research on sustainable packaging solutions implemented overseasneeded greater focus. Recycling and reuse of packaging material were also discussed. On skilling, Mr. Agarwal advised the Indian Institute of Packaging to devise short term courses to equip the user industry to skill its workforce. He also requested the Logistics Sector Skill Council to prepare at least 8-10 job roles in the packaging vertical at the earliest to build the talent pool. Shri Agarwal said industry, academia and government would need to collaborate to foster research, development, and innovation and the Department of logistics would help lead that effort.
  16. During the consultation, suggestions were also made to rationalize the packaging requirements for bulk goods such as cement, fertilizer, etc; establishing mechanisms for retrieval of packaging material, and the need for a robust reverse logistic mechanism which in turn wouldreduce cost. The meeting will be followed up with Sector-specific consultationsto ensure all requirements were taken into account.
  17. To boost farmers’ income, additional commodities (Mandarin & Turmeric) included for the subsidy through Kisan Rail transportationUnder ‘Operation Greens – TOP to Total’ scheme of Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), 50% subsidy is being extended on transportation of notified fruits and vegetables
  18. To incentivise farmers to transport their agricultural produce through Kisan Rail, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Food Processing Industries have included Mandarin (a variety of Orange)and Turmeric (raw) in the list of eligible Fruits and Vegetables for 50% transportation subsidy through any type of train service provided by Indian Railways under Operation Greens – TOP to TOTAL. Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is providing 50% subsidy on transportation of any Fruits and Vegetables through any type of train service provided by Indian Railways under Operation Greens – TOP to TOTAL.
  19. Eligible Items under subsidy already:
  20. Fruits- Mango, Banana, Guava, Kiwi, Litchi, Papaya, Mousambi, Orange, Kinnow, Lime, Lemon,  Pineapple, Pomegranate, Jackfruit, Apple, Almond, Aonla, Passion fruit and Pear;
  21. Vegetables – French beans, Bitter Gourd, Brinjal, Capsicum, Carrot, Cauliflower, Chillies (Green), Okra, Cucumber, Peas, Garlic, Onion, Potato and Tomato.
  22. Kisan Rail ensures agro products reach from one corner to another corner of the country in a quick time by faster transportation benefitting both the farmers and the consumers. The Kisan Rail catering to the requirements of small farmers and small traders is proving to be not only a game changer but also a life changer as it fulfils the endeavour of increasing the income of farmers.
  23. Kisan Rail is surely changing the lives of farmers with the assurance of better price with faster & cheaper transportation, providing seamless supply chain, preventing the destruction of perishable farm produce thereby opening up the scope to increase the income of farmers.
  24. It is worth mentioning that Indian Railways is continuously making efforts to move the agro products through freight trains. Even during the lockdown, the freight trains of Indian Railways were moving to ensure continuous supply of essential commodities so that no part in the country should face any hardship. There has been significant improvement in loading of crops like wheat, pulses, fruits, vegetables with more rakes.